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Shamrock and roll

Many big-name bands are coming to this year’s Hilton Head Island St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Founded in 1983 by local business icon Tom Reilley and a few friends and family, the Hilton Head Island St. Patrick’s Day Parade has grown to become one of Hilton Head Island’s most beloved and popular annual events. Upwards of 30,000 spectators line Pope Avenue and Office Park Road each spring to enjoy floats, candy, local dignitaries in fancy cars and the always popular Shriners with their hilarious antics. By far, the most popular entries each year are the bands, and this year’s lineup looks better than ever. Here are five of the best that will be marching, starting at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 15. Put on your best, brightest green outfit and get ready to celebrate the Irish in you.

Tight as a drum

Virginia Tech Highty-Tighties

©Virginia Tech

One of the most famous collegiate marching bands in the country is scheduled to make its first appearance on the island. The Virginia Tech Regimental Band is known for dominating competitive parades, earning 129 first-place trophies in 130 competitive parades. In recent years, the Highty-Tighties have participated in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Savannah, the Mardi Gras Parade in New Orleans and the 2010 Virginia Governor’s Inaugural Parade.

Battery powered

Battery Creek Dolphin Pride

©TR Media World

This local high school band, led by band director Roderick Williams, is considered one of the best high school marching bands in the country. They were one of 10 marching bands invited to perform at the 2019 Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade, the first South Carolina high school to receive the honor. Led by the Code Blue Drum Line, the band always gets the crowd moving with lively song selections and spirited dancers.

Piping hot

Atlanta Pipe Band

Formed in 1970, this band is the most established and successful pipe band in Georgia. It is a major force on the competitive circuit, winning numerous trophies and awards over the years, including the US Open Championship. The band has performed for such dignitaries as Presidents Carter and Bush, Prince Charles, Mikhail Gorbachev and the Dalai Lama. It was also featured in the 2007 motion picture, “Into the Wild.”

Semper Fi

Parris Island Marine Band

©TR Media World

This local band is one of the premier military bands in the United States. In addition to playing around 40 recruit graduations each year, the band also performs concerts and in parades across the country. It was awarded the Col. George S. Howard Citation for Musical Excellence for Military Concert Bands in 2009 and 2013.

Jackets required

Savannah Marching Blue Jackets

©Bailey Davidson

With bright blue uniforms, it’s hard to miss this fun-loving band from Savannah High School. They always deliver a high-energy performance. With its trumpet line and drum line sections, you will hear them well before you see them. The band was recently featured in the New York Times.

Hilton Head Island St. Patrick’s Day Parade

When: 3 p.m., Sunday, March 15

Where: Pope Avenue and Office Park Road, Hilton Head Island

Details: Entry fees are $400 for businesses and $200 for non-profit organizations.